Friday, September 30, 2016

Tired Of Corporate Babblespeak?

     So is Al Yankovic:

     (Found at and shamelessly stolen from Dustbury. Bravo, Charles.)

     For those who’ve been wondering about the gradually increasing frequency of giggle-posts here at the legendarily serious Liberty’s Torch, the current record-holder for the most Web-induced suicides since 2013, it’s quite simple: I need to laugh as much as anyone else, the recent news has been of the sort that increases that need, and I like to share. And may God bless and keep the great Weird Al, one of the few truly funny men of our time. If there’s a Humor Hall of Fame, he most certainly belongs in it – if “they,” whoever “they” might be, don’t do the decent thing and name it after him!

Ultimate Silencings

     Every now and then it all seems to come together.

     I’m sure you’ve read about the several instances in which a “TRUMP 2016” sign has appeared at a college campus, and a torrent of whiny, mock-outraged protests has followed. No doubt you’re aware of the “identity” nonsense that’s got the entire nation, its rest rooms, and its pronouns in a lather. And of course there’s the cult of victimism, and the utterly false notion that “hate speech” – see your local leftist loony for the non-definition – isn’t protected under the First Amendment.

     It’s getting even better, Gentle Reader. Really it is:

     The most recent addition to the lexicon of leftist grievance is “message crime”, which popped up at this year’s OSCE/HDIM conference in Warsaw. According to the annotated agenda, message crimes constitute
     …a rejection of the victim’s identity which can have a marginalizing effect on entire communities. Secondary victimization, where representatives from broader society deny or minimize the seriousness of the incident, can also reinforce and perpetuate this message.

     There is no real attempt to define the new term, just a catchphrase-laden description. And consider the terms used to describe these “crimes”: “rejection”, “identity”, “marginalizing”, etc. That is, the characteristics of what is being anathematized are so vague as to make any judgment entirely subjective.

     Clearly, there are no limits beyond which the Left and its masters will not go. But that’s in the nature of a Ur-totalitarian movement: i.e., a movement that seeks not merely to squelch all opposition, but to prevent even the thought of opposition from entering anyone’s head. Quite obviously, if you can’t think it, you can’t do it. Makes the Ministry of Love’s job a lot easier, and you know how government types hate hard work.

     Speaking of the Ministry of Love, Orwell pinned these developments some seventy years ago, though he wrote about their terminus rather than their evolution:

     Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and fro, and the word INGSOC fitfully appeared and vanished. Ingsoc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:


     He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette packet--everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed--no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

     As antihero-protagonist Winston Smith discovers through experience, not even that tiny volume within his skull was immune to invasion and prosecution.

     But what is the point, you might well ask? The point, of course, is to induce in the victim – and never imagine that the Left sees you as anything but cattle to be fattened for eventual slaughter – a state of cooperative self-censorship: a condition in which you will be unable to think an unapproved thought because processes installed within your own mind will act to pre-censor it.

     Minority Report’s conception of a Department of Pre-Crime is bad enough, though some might say “Well, if even one life could be saved...” The Left seeks to create billions of automatically acting cerebral Departments of Pre-Crimethink, one per victim. Each of us would become his own, fastest-acting, and most reliable censor.

     Yes, you may well shudder.

     I’ve been having a lot of “What’s the use?” days lately. I’m sure you know the syndrome: that state of total personal enervation in which no effort seems justified by its probable results. Garbage like the above, which is gaining popularity throughout the Western world, is a part of the reason: It’s not being resisted. Not only “not effectively;” not at all.

     Even persons whom you’d expect to know better are falling in line. No less a defender of freedom than Glenn Reynolds, our beloved Instapundit, felt compelled to self-censor and apologize for – God help us all – a tweet.

     If Professor Reynolds can succumb, who is immune?

     How many times must I resurrect this essay?

     The essence of the taboo in American society is linguistic: not to speak the forbidden thought or attitude....But even those of us who defy the taboos ideologically are expected to obey their constraints on our vocabulary.

     But controlling our speech is not the Left’s true goal. The Left seeks the ultimate silencing of dissent: each of us must be ruthlessly, rigorously conditioned to pre-censor our minds.

     The disease is too far advanced to allow it further gains. If we’re ever to re-establish freedom of expression as an inviolable principle, the time to dig in our heels and mount a furious counterattack is now.

     Long ago, the late, great Robert Sheckley wrote a completely serious novel titled The Status Civilization. In it, protagonist Will Barrent awakens in confinement, all his memories having been erased except for “a meager store of generalized knowledge, enough to keep you in touch with reality.” Presently he is told that he was adjudged guilty of murder, for which reason he has been exiled to a prison planet called Omega. However, Barrent is certain, at some level, that he was falsely accused. The remainder of the story tells of Barrent’s struggle to escape Omega, to return to Earth, and to find those who had condemned him. The “robot-confessor” that sentenced him directs him to a particular address, “where you will find the informer.”

     What he finds comes as a stunning surprise:

     He stood in front of 35 Maple Street. The silence which surrounded the house struck him as ominous. He took the needlbeam out of his pocket, looking for a reassurance he knew he could not find. Then he walked up the neat flagstones and tried the front door. It opened, He stepped inside.
     He made out the dim shades of lamps and furniture, the dull gleam of a painting on the wall, a piece of statuary on an ebony pedestal. Needlebeam in hand, he stepped into the next room.
     And came face to face with his informer.
     Staring at the informer’s face, Barrent remembered. In an overpowering flood of memory, he saw himself, a little boy, entering the closed classroom. He heard again the soothing sound of machinery, watched the pretty lights blink and flash, heard the insinuating machine voice whisper in his ear. At first the voice filled him with horror; what it suggested was unthinkable. Then, slowly, he became accustomed to it, and accustomed to all the strange things that happened in the closed classroom.
     He learned. The machines taught on deep, unconscious levels. The machines intertwined their lessons with the basic drives, weaving a pattern of learned behavior with the life instinct. They taught, then blocked off conscious knowledge of the lessons, sealed it—and fused it.
     What had he been taught?
     For the social good, you must be your own policeman and witness. You must assume responsibility for any crime which might conceivably be yours.

     “The informer” is, of course, his own image in a mirror.

     If Orwell, Sheckley, and I haven’t given you enough to think about yet, there’s nothing more to say but...

     Have a nice day.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pandering As Statecraft

     [BEING, Some Peripheral Thoughts Stimulated By Angelo M. Codevilla’s Excellent Essay “After The Republic”]

     A substantial number of Gentle Readers have written to ask “So when are you going to comment on the Codevilla essay, already?” In point of fact, for some time I’ve been saying most of what Codevilla has said. All the same, a few associated notions have come to mind, specifically concerning the mechanism that’s brought us to this post-republican pass. Read on.

     Ever wonder why the quality of our leaders has been declining with each successive generation? – Angelo M. Codevilla

     Unicausal explanations for social, political, or economic phenomena are always suspect. However, their simplicity is tempting, which keeps them in demand among persons who “explain” sociopolitical currents and developments for money. Their shakiness is both revealed and masked by the inability to experiment: i.e., to create specific initial conditions from which to predict, with variables other than the proposed causes carefully controlled, and to watch for the predicted outcomes within the specified time limits. Not only are the variables too many and too stiff to control adequately, but people generally don’t like being experimented on.

     Even so, we may be fairly confident about certain things:

  1. Human character and personality traits exist in a distribution.
  2. Human action is propelled by desires and inhibited by fears and moral convictions.
  3. Given two courses of action toward a goal, then if all other things are equal, the one that demands less effort and/or less risk will generally be preferred.

     These are my reasons for holding the moral and political convictions that I do.

     Codevilla’s sly query has never baffled me. The three premises I enumerated above provide a perfectly serviceable explanation:

  1. Some people love power and prestige above all things.
  2. Some of those people have no moral constraints and inadequate fear of punishment.
  3. Such persons will cheerfully lie, cheat, steal, intimidate, and brutalize to get what they want.

     The enveloping conditions will determine all else. In a nation with a quasi-democratic electoral process for ascending to power, the most important one will be the moral state of the electorate.

     In his manifesto The People’s Pottage, Garet Garrett provides an illustration of how those determined to rule without constraint can corrupt the nation they seek to rule:

     Senator [Everett] Dirksen tells how Cordell Hull, then Secretary of State, expounded to him the New Deal’s doctrine of corrupting the people for their own good. “My boy,” Hull said, “ this follows a bent of human philosophy. At first people will demur at the idea of subsidies and accept them very reluctantly, and then after a while they will accept them with good grace, and later they will demand them.”

     They who hold the levers of power can often contrive to follow such a course. The subsidy might not be monetary in every case. It might arise from a law that effectively bars new competitors from entering a hot market. It might consist in a web of regulations that favor some commercial concerns over others. Or it might lie in administrative or judicial machinations that favor Smith over Jones. In one form or another, the subsidy – a governmental exertion to create a privilege for some at the expense of others – will be there. The ultimate effect is corruption: the habituation of the people and institutions of the nation to seeking the unearned prize via unjust means.

     Amoral masters can easily rule a corrupted people.

     For more than a century, the mechanisms of corruption have traveled under the label progressivism. Its apostles style themselves as progressives, with all the implications attendant thereto. Leave us to handle things, they say, and we’ll make everything better. And who, honestly, could be against that?

     Progressivism’s apostles have steadily demanded and received more power with which to pursue their overt agenda. We needn’t dwell on whether things have “gotten better.” The mechanics of the phenomenon – the steady accretion of power by corruption of the electorate – is the important thing.

     If only a tiny fraction of the populace is corrupt – i.e., willing to accept the unearned in payment for political support – the scope and power of the State will be well restrained. But corruption exhibits a fungus-like growth pattern. By virtue of the subsidy it receives, that tiny fraction will “do better” than others not so graced. Since success breeds emulation, some of the others will set their moral convictions (and personal pride) aside to “get in on the gravy.” Their young will be less well morally formed, and therefore more susceptible to the lure of the subsidy. The fungus will expand.

     The progressives, seeing their “constituency” expand and become more vocal, will increase their pressure for more power and less constraint. In the usual case, they’ll get their way. A sociopolitical “climax ecology” is reached when approximately 50% of the nation is receiving some sort of net subsidy. (Ironically, virtually everyone will think he’s getting something from the State, though half of them will be wrong on net balance.) At that point, the powers and operations of the progressives become effectively unbounded. Not only can they do as they please without let or hindrance, they can prevent effective opposition from ever arising.

     It’s a stasis that can only be shattered by revolution.

     I haven’t said anything about whether any of the progressives are sincere about their overt aims. That’s because it doesn’t matter. As a great yet generally unknown philosopher once said, sincerity is the ultimate asset: once you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Those who are in the game solely for the power and prestige will emulate the sincere ones, overshadow and eventually displace them. The dynamic of corruption, once in motion, guarantees it.

     The relevance to the present-day United States is obvious. Never before has the Land of the Free been so unfree, so corrupt, and so hagridden by malefactors. Our deterioration from the Constitutionally constrained Republic of the Founders to the venal, subsidy-dominated quasi-democracy of our time is incontestable. It’s rendered American government ugly beyond dispute. The ruling class of which Codevilla speaks in his recent essay is completely divorced in moral terms from the rest of the nation. Its members acknowledge no limits. Neither will they ever surrender their positions before any conceivable pressure from us “deplorables.”

     Pandering as statecraft has become the essence of the system.

     We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. – Angelo M. Codevilla

     I’m not quite as pessimistic as Codevilla. I think we still have a chance to pull out of this tailspin. It’s rather against the odds, owing to the power of the corruption-by-subsidy dynamic, but it’s still possible.

     The method must be moral rather than utilitarian. It requires a resurgence of the Christian moral and ethical precepts that were strong at the Founding – yes, even among those Founders who didn’t explicitly embrace Christianity – to the point that near to unanimously, the American people will:

  • Refuse all subsidies;
  • Denounce and depose the ruling class.

     How likely is that? And how might we who still care increase its chances?

     More anon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ubiquitous Yet Counterproductive Deceit

     Honesty has apparently gone out of fashion.

     Have you been thinking approximately the same? The political lies alone are enough to drive an “indifferent honest” man to drink. The self-promotional lies being told by business institutions and ordinary persons around us are marginally comprehensible for motive, at least. Whatever impels them, every deceit great or small leads us deeper into what Samuel Johnson termed “the general degradation of human testimony.”

     If you’re wondering what triggered this particular outburst, it’s an email I just received. It comes from a well-known newspaper which operates, as they all do these days, a Web annex. The subject line did the job all by itself:

Sale extended due to popular demand! 99c for 3 months or $9.99 for 6 months of digital access [Now ends 9/30]

     “Sale extended due to popular demand?” No commercial institution has ever extended a sale because it was popular. The very idea boggles the mind. A sale is instituted to encourage customers. If a sufficient number of persons respond positively, the sale will end. It will only be extended if the institution’s operators badly need additional customers and the first iteration didn’t produce enough of them.

     A newspaper that stages a sale is admitting, sotto voce, that it needs subscribers – “eyeballs,” in journalism jargon. The bulk of a news outlet’s revenue comes from advertisers, and advertisers prefer outlets that can claim a large subscribership. “Popular demand?” Please! “Advertiser indifference” would be the honest reason the sale is being extended.

     Such insults to our intelligence are the very worst sort of lie. They work against the objectives of the liar. In effect, he’s saying to his target that “you’re too stupid to notice what I’ve done here.” The intelligence to be downgraded in such a case is his.

     SF writer John C. Wright recently wrote that he could understand and even somewhat admire a well-crafted lie that actually advances the purposes of the liar. Such a lie is morally deplorable, but tactically justifiable. What he couldn’t grasp were the sort that sets those purposes back. Yet such deceits are all around us – and a great fraction thereof come from persons already well established as founts of fabrication.

     It would seem that there’s an underserved market niche: instruction in how to lie constructively and effectively. I’d rather see that niche remain unfilled, but this is the United States of America, where demand calls forth supply as regularly as the Sun rises in the East. Or perhaps we’ve at last deduced what sort of creature pays to go to those innumerable, intolerable “self-improvement” seminars, most of which are operated by persons whose entire fortune comes from...operating self-improvement seminars.

     Later, Gentle Reader.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Anger Gambit

     Quite a bit of our political discourse is, to put it non-discoursively, nothing but shouting. The participants, whether consciously or otherwise, simply reject the use of facts and reasoning. They shout by preference.

     Time was, this was not considered acceptable conduct in a discussion intended to establish which of two policy directions was the preferable one. Today it appears to be the default route. Moreover, Left-inclined persons typically adopt it from the outset of any exchange, under the pretense of having been “triggered.”

     This video, supplied by commenter Brinster, provides an example. Though it’s unpleasant to watch, the illustration it provides is valuable:

     The young black woman who leaps into the fray screeching about how she’ll owe a substantial amount of money for her college education while her white contemporaries won’t – a dubious assertion, to say the least – is practicing the Anger Gambit. It’s a tough thrust to parry, because for some decades now whites have been conditioned to respond to an angry outburst with conciliation, especially when the angry person is black. This overlooks the tactical nature of the outburst. It is essentially tactical rather than sincere even if the speaker is sincerely angry.

     There is no calm-yet-profitable way to reply to such an outburst. Conciliation is the least desirable route, as it tends to ratify the speaker’s complaint as legitimate and relevant. That is seldom the case in political discourse.

     Yet consider the roots of the speaker’s complaint, assuming it’s factual:

  • She attends a college that charges tuition and fees, as most such do.
  • Her earnings and savings aren’t adequate to meet those charges.
  • Her parents, assuming they’re alive, can’t or won’t defray the balance.

     Look at the assumptions behind those assertions:

  • She assumes she has a right to attend that college.
  • She assumes that other people have an obligation to pay for it.
  • She assumes that being black will protect her from counterfire.

     The appalling thing is that such assumptions go unquestioned far more often than not. But would it be effective to respond as follows:

  • “What makes you think you have a right to go to college?”
  • “Why didn’t you work and save for a few years, so you could afford it?”
  • “Why are white people responsible for giving you what you want at no cost to you?”

     Scorn and laughter will occasionally carry the day against the Anger Gambit – but seldom. They must issue from someone of impervious confidence and bearing. White men with such qualifications are rare in our time.

     Central to all this is our reluctance to meet anger with anger.

     I am a racist, a sexist, an ableist, a homophobe, and an Islamophobe. I admit it freely. Able-bodied white Christian heterosexual males built Western Civilization. Non-whites, non-Christians, homosexuals, the handicapped, and women have made only minor contributions, though they enjoy the benefits. If they can’t afford or partake of some of the benefits, it’s no fault of ours.

     That attitude equips me to meet the Anger Gambit with heavy counterfire of a sort that’s rare in such exchanges. It’s also why I rarely involve myself in such exchanges. They have a nasty habit of descending to violence. I dislike the consequences of interpersonal violence, even when all the bleeding and broken limbs accrue to the other party.

     But counterfire, even when the consequences are successfully weathered, doesn’t change anyone’s mind. If third parties, unpersuaded prior to the exchange, are listening, they’re likely to walk away thinking “A pox on both their houses.” So from the perspective of one who seeks improvement rather than the mere visceral satisfaction of meeting provocation with a good vent, there’s no point.

     In consequence, there’s essentially no discourse remaining. Instead, the Left keeps screeching to “keep the hate alive.” The reaction on the Right is usually something like this:

     I’m increasingly pissed off by what I’m seeing and I resent the people behind it. Guys like Juan Williams should be on TV demanding the cops round up every last Charlotte rioter and pack them off to Africa. The rich black guys on TV talking sportsball should be mortified that their co-ethnics are embarrassing their race with these antics. If the roles were reversed and it was whites making asses of themselves, you can be sure the honkies on TV would be furious and embarrassed, demanding a halt to it.

     That’s not how it works and that’s what is getting tiresome. Those two black girls get the idea in their heads to make a nuisance of themselves in the street and I’m supposed to feel guilty about it. Frankly, Glenn Reynolds was right. Let’s have a few motorists drive over these people and then we can talk about feeling guilty. Let’s have the cops unleash the dogs and water cannon on these rioters and then talk to me about feeling guilty. I’ll be happy to feel guilty as long as the streets are clear.

     I’ve simply had enough.

     Open-if-insincere anger versus repressed-but-justified anger. Who wins?

     Mind you, this is not an argument against getting angry. It’s about what anger-in-discourse means and how it can be used.

     The Left’s adoption of a politics of division compels them to brandish anger as their principal weapon. And to the extent that it gains its objectives, it will be emulated and intensified.

     To prevent Leftist anger-in-discourse from gaining its objectives, we must meet anger with anger – and our anger must be of incomparably greater magnitude.

     There’s already a perceptible movement in that direction. Whites are sick and tired for being blamed for the myriad failures of American blacks. Christians are sick and tired of being persecuted de facto for their beliefs. Men have pretty much had it with feminists and their endless shrill denunciations. And so on.

     It’s a start, but only a start. It must grow, and become vocal, and to the extent required by circumstances – girls, hold onto your boyfriends -- it must meet violence with superior force.

     That will be a sticking point for many, who prefer to leave “that sort of thing” to the politicians, organizers, and commentators (and the superior force part, of course, to “the authorities”). However, dealing ourselves out because we’re private persons who “just want to be left alone” is no longer viable...especially as “the authorities” are tacitly complicit in the Left’s tactics. Consider the “official” reactions to the rioting in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Milwaukee.

     Paddy Chayevsky’s Howard Beale had the right idea:

     I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

     We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!'

     So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

     But yelling out the window mustn’t be the end of it. The Anger Gambit is too resilient to be defeated that way.

     Give it some thought.

Monday, September 26, 2016

So Up-To-The-Minute...

     ...that the minute itself will be deemed late:

     The meme is so new it hasn't even hit Know Your Meme: "Describe yourself in three fictional characters." I agonized over this rather longer than I'd intended to, mostly because some of the characters on my first list were there, not so much because they reminded me of me, but because I was overly fond of them. Eventually I pared that list, and these three individuals are left.

     Charles’s selections don’t surprise me overly. When I started thinking about my own was when the surprises began.

     Perhaps Gentle Readers who are also readers of fiction – and I do hope that’s both all of you – will attempt this exercise and put your cogitations in the comments. Among other things, it would give me a sense for what sort of fiction really strikes home with you. That would make my pandering marketing a bit easier.

"Black Lives Matter" in one graph.

H/t: Maggie's Farm.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Miscellaneous Religious Irritations

     No, this doesn’t qualify as a Rumination. Those are generally more hortatory, more inspirational in tone. But then, you got a quick one at midweek. No, this is more of a “clear your brain before the static ruins your Sunday” sort of piece.

     Now and then, one must grit one’s teeth at some of the bilge being proffered as Christian doctrine. “Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s gotta have one.” (Me) And priests, of course, are part of “everybody.” But there are places where opinions, particularly political opinions, are both unwarranted and destructive of faith. The pulpit is one such place.

     Just now, a certain Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis, is doing great harm to the Church by orating on political and economic subjects. If he were to confine the former to freedom of religion and the latter to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” he’d be on safe, even sanctified ground. But this, to put it gently, is not the case.

     More locally, If I hear Father Francis X. Pizzarelli call illegal aliens “the undocumented” one more time, I just might change parishes. I intend to let my pastor and the prelate of the Diocese of Rockville Center know that, in flaming letters.

     It also offends me to hear non-Christians speak about Christian doctrine, or about what Christians are obliged or expected to do. How dare they? How would they take it if the shoe were on the other foot – say, if a Christian were to prescribe and proscribe for a Jew? Surely the offense would be equal in magnitude, if opposite in direction.

     Yet that is what David Goldman, a.k.a. “Spengler,” dares to do to Andrew Klavan this morning:

     It isn’t so simple for a Jew to convert to Christianity. We were called to be God’s people at Mount Sinai some 3,400 years ago. You [Goldman is addressing Klavan here] were there, even if you don’t remember it. This is something that Christians also believe, for they read the same Bible as the Jews. We Jews accepted a divine mission, and by “we,” I mean all of our generations, including yours....

     For a Jew to convert to Christianity raises a number of problems that you do not appear to have considered. Are Jewish Christians obligated to perform the mitzvoth, to keep the Sabbath and to keep kosher? The Jewish Christians of the early Church surely did. Wyschogrod answered in the affirmative, in a famous open letter to Cardinal Lustiger. Whether or not you feel called to Christ in the Spirit, you are still chosen in the flesh, and because Jewish flesh is holy—it is the vessel for God’s Indwelling on earth—it must be given the appropriate sanctity, for example kashrut.

     Here is the paradox: You cannot be a Christian unless you also accept your Election as a Jew, but you have never lived as a Jew, and do not know what it is to be a Jew.

     The insult is beyond my ability to characterize. It borders on unforgivable. I’m certain Goldman would have felt greatly offended had Klavan catechized him in such a fashion. And if Goldman were attentive even to the prescriptions of Leviticus, he would have known better.


     Finally for this morning, a few words on freedom of religion.

     If we are free in any area of life, it implies the absence of coercion and constraint over that area by any temporal authority. It does not imply that the laws of Nature ought not to stand in our way. Yet innumerable persons claim to be “unfree” because of a law of Nature – for example, the laws of biology.

     Worse, atheists frequently side with the State over the individual when the subject is freedom of religion. As atheism is itself a species of faith, this is particularly ludicrous. An atheist wouldn’t last five minutes after openly avowing his faith in Iran, for example.

     The most conspicuous example of this in our day is, of course, the prescriptions of ObamaCare concerning the provision of abortion and contraception coverage to the employees of any sufficiently large firm. Thus, Catholic company owners are forced to pay for what their faith – yes, and mine – condemns as heinous mortal sins. This is so manifestly a denial of freedom of religion that even a child aware of the doctrines of the Catholic Church would see it at once. But the arrogant atheist, immovably convinced that his faith is the only true faith, cannot see it.

     As I’ve written before, true freedom of religion is only possible in a sharply limited political order, such as that set down in the Constitution of the United States. That’s why the First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The drafters of the First Amendment did not intend it to apply to state governments. But of course, the arrogant atheist will have no truck with that.

     Many and great will be the lamentations on the Last Day.

     Forgive me, Gentle Reader. I had to get these things off my chest. They obstruct my practice of my religion. Given the Law of General Benevolence that all wholesome creeds share, it’s particularly important to emphasize that I mean no one any harm. I condemn behavior, not persons...though I must admit, some persons do cause me to test the elasticity of that doctrine.

     Have a nice Sunday. Go Giants.

An Announcement

     I’ve had enough.

     Too many sites are using badly flawed “active server” techniques to pour reams of advertising down our throats. It makes those sites effectively unreadable. Particularly annoying are the ones that use half-clever, “anti-adblocker” techniques to circumvent the visitor’s protections of his browser.

     In consequence, users’ browsers are freezing and their attempts to surf away are being impeded. A great deal of irritation and hostility have resulted – some of it mine.

     If that strikes you as a minor nuisance, think about this for a moment: “Smart TVs” are integrating browser capabilities into their standard, central function. Do you own one? Do you expect to own one? Would you like your television to freeze the way an overrun browser does?

     I will list offenders here as I discover them. Today’s offender is This is unfortunate, as there’s a lot of good material there. But that doesn’t win them an exemption for freezing Chrome and Internet Explorer on consecutive visits.

I will not explore any ad featured on such a site. Neither will I ever purchase from the advertised vendor. I exhort my Gentle Readers to do the same.

     For the moment,, a browser explicitly designed to block all advertising ab initio, appears to thwart the push-purveyors...though I’m sure they’re working on that. However, for the present I intend to use exclusively. Though it’s in beta-test, I recommend it for general use.

     We’ll see how matters develop.

Leftist sanctimony at its best.

SanctiMOANy is more like it.

Short version: Self-important anti-Trump celebrities renowned for their political insight and historical knowledge, trembling lips, quavering voices, barely suppressed tears, pregnant pauses, something about "sincerity," saving the day for "our children," protecting the country from fear and ignorance, and, inevitably, "common sense" gun laws (universal concealed carry, presumably).

One startling point is that Trump's signature reality show "firing" of apprentices (on TV) is the proof that he enjoys "firing" things and will therefore "fire" nuclear missiles to pass the time of day. If the logic of the last point is clear to you, you're in the target audience for this clip and have found your way to this web site totally by accident.

The actual logical result of this Trump predisposition is that he would "fire" the missiles in our arsenal, that is get rid of them, because they are no longer needed. This has occurred to none of the actors in the video. Trump, the clear peace candidate.

Opposed by Hillaria Maxima, The Destroyer of Nations.

H/t: The Federalist.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Ice Cream Is Running Low

     There are many days in anyone’s life when “it’s all getting to be a bit much.” I’m no exception, and I’m having one now. So rather than dribble on about essentially nothing of consequence, I’ll provide a few links to others’ jottings from which I took some edification or amusement.

     First and foremost for today, Nicki at The Liberty Zone has produced a classic rant, admirable in every way. When I finished it, I muttered “so I’m not the only one,” and wondered thereafter whether that’s a good thing.

     Second, if you’ve been struck by the similarities among the various “Black Lives Matter” riots, you’re not alone. Kelly Riddell provides a look at where some of their funding comes from.

     Third, please read this swift, unsparing dissection of the “Islam is a religion of peace” fraud. I’ve known that for quite some time, but the resistance to the idea persists among far too many Americans.

     Fourth, if you haven’t yet pondered the strange form of capital we call political power, read Dystopic’s analysis. Far too many people fail to understand that no one and nothing can “corrupt a politician.” A corrupt politician arrives in office already corrupt, because it’s the love of power that corrupts.

     Fifth and last for today, when the subject is feminism, Stacy McCain often becomes repetitious. However, here he gets both the length and the substance just right. Young women puzzled by feminists’ open, avowed hostility toward men (and young men inclined to think there might be exceptions) especially need the insights here.

     See you tomorrow, I hope.